Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mushu Dragon Head - Spray Foam Coat

I have been procrastinating.  
I procrastinate when I'm worried.  

Well, that's one of my reasons, anyway. 

So this evening I sprayed the Mushu dragon head.  I was worried about the mess it would make, how it would stick to the form, if I would be able to carve down to the shape I had originally intended, etc.  You name it, I worried about it.  But you know, procrastinating doesn't answer these questions, it just delays the inevitable. 

I decided to spray in the basement.  I didn't need the hyperactive dog shooting her dog hairs on it (or worse, taking a taste, or stepping in the drips) while it was still wet.  I have had it perched on a copper kettle for a while so I could look at it at the correct angle, so I wrapped the kettle completely in plastic wrap.  I perched the kettle on a rubbermaid tote and topped the tote and the floor around it with newspaper.  I am usually a really neat painter, but this stuff it completely unforgiving.  I read the can before I got started - it says that you can remove the WET stuff with acetone (a chemical in nail polish remover) but the dry stuff will have to wear off… OMG, will have to wear off… it's one of the reasons I decided to spray in the basement.  

I shook the can really really well as directed, put the spray nozzle on and promptly broke one side of it off while pressing down.  CRAP.  When I finally got it going, it came SHOOTING out, expanding like a son-of-a-gun, pretty much obliterating any form I had made.  The first thing I sprayed it on was the lower jaw.

I covered the ends with plastic wrap because I'm going to cover those with fabric and then add velcro so that it can attach to the headpiece on the sides, so the actor's head is completely encircled. 

I cannot say enough that this stuff is SO DAMN STICKY that there was not even a CHANCE that I could do both sides of the jaw at once.  I sprayed what I could reach and figured I could always peel the newspaper off the edges when the foam was dry. I'm going to carve it down a bit anyway.  

I moved on to the head.  Finally I started spraying very slowly so I got a finer stream of foam. I moved the nozzle back and forth, but as I did, a ball of foam clung to the end of the nozzle (did I say this is THE stickiest stuff on earth?  It is.)

I sprayed around the eyes, leaving the centers open, then pressed the eyes into place and sprayed around them to hold them in.  I had covered them with plastic wrap also so that I can just peel or cut it off after the foam is dry and I will have two perfectly clean eyeballs.  

As the foam built up, it started weighing down my armature, which made me worried.  I hadn't planned on that.  

I propped up the horns with an aluminum tray I quickly found in the basement.  It's disposable. 

I propped up the ears with a paper plate.  I knew I couldn't spray the underneath parts and I had prepared by greasing a shish kebob skewer with vaseline in hopes of preserving the remainder of the can for use tomorrow.  But guess what?  I ran out of foam anyway.  

So, I hard press on the nozzle makes the foam come out quickly but that foam seems to be much lighter and more airy.  When you press lighter, you get a smaller stream, but it seems to expand less and be denser. I would say that the optimal use would be to press the nozzle harder, but move the can quickly and deliberately across your surface.  In the middle left of the picture above you can see where I tried to  use the end of the nozzle to stick two sides of the foam together to cover a hole - the only thing that happened was it made a clump of foam which stuck to the nozzle, tore out a section and dropped with a plop to the newspaper.  Lesson learned.

I will need at least another can for the underside, and possibly a third can for touch ups.

Back to Home Depot. 

We'll see what it looks like tomorrow when it's dry.   

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